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  • Writer's pictureThomas

Washington Park with my Dad and my Dog

Updated: Sep 9, 2020

September 5, 2020

A Haiku:

“Washington Park on a Rainy Morning” by Thomas O’Connor

Muscle car rally.

Loud music in the moist air.

The birds do not mind.

Today I birded at Washington Park, which is at the western end of the Midway Plaisance on Chicago’ historic South Side. Like the beach yesterday, the park was virtually deserted. Nobody was having a picnic, taking a stroll or throwing a frisbee. However, like when an ecological niche is abandoned by one species of bird, another will often fill it, so too with the niche of the public park. Scores of old-school “muscle cars” lined the park streets. Hoods were up and people were tuning and shining their cars. Everyone was observing social distancing but still seemed to be building community. Meanwhile, the birds were building community as well! Some trees had recently toppled, and the park service is clearly not in a rush to clean up the debris since few people go to the park, and the birds loved gathering around the toppled branches. A northern flicker and a downy woodpecker became the first two woodpecker species on my list, and I also added some warblers, like the northern waterthrush, to my list. A double-crested cormorant in the pond provided a nice cap to the day.

Cormorant in the pond.

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